In observance of National 811 Day (August 11), Dominion Energy and Virginia Natural Gas are underscoring the importance of calling 8-1-1 to have underground utility lines marked before beginning any projects that require digging. This includes such acts as installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, or laying a patio, to name a few.
Remember to CARE:
- Call or Click before you dig: Before starting any outdoor digging project, customers should dial 811 or visit va811.com at least three days in advance to request to have underground utility lines marked. Requests to have utility operators locate underground lines—including natural gas, electric, water, sewer, telephone, and cable lines—can be made 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free.
- Allow the required time for marking: After contacting Virginia 811, wait for underground utility lines to be marked before digging. Locators will mark the approximate location of buried lines with color-coded spray paint, flags, or stakes corresponding to the utility. In general, Red=Electric Power; Yellow=Natural Gas; Orange=Communication; Blue=Potable Water; Green=Sewer.
- Respect the marks: Only use hand digging tools to carefully uncover the area around a utility line when you need to dig near location markers.
- Excavate carefully: Make sure the marks remain visible during the project. If the lines are damaged or removed, customers are encouraged to contact 811 again to have the lines remarked.
The Common Ground Alliance, a national nonprofit organization working to protect underground utility lines, reports damage to covered pipe and cable happens once every few minutes because of digging near unmarked utility lines. While large excavating projects often cause these mistakes, a homeowner’s simple mailbox installation or even a modest gardening project can lead to striking infrastructure that is right underground. In the first six months of this year, nearly 20 percent of damage to Virginia Natural Gas facilities were caused by homeowners who did not contact 811.